Google Fiber was announced yesterday and—after reading into it a bit—it’s the first technology thing I’ve been excited about for awhile.
Yes, there are the obvious benefits of having an internet company delivering your internet. Think about: right now you have a television company delivering your internet. The internet is second-fiddle to the needs of the TV network. The coin has been slowly flipping for awhile; most likely your TV programming is delivered digitally. But the old incumbents have proved incapable of delivering acceptable service levels in major metropolitan areas. From a my-internet-will-be-usable-in-Brooklyn standpoint, Google Fiber makes me tingle.
But here’s why it’s even more exciting.
Google is putting a black box, connected to its own network, in houses around the city. A commenter on HackerNews pointed out that this could make a great CDN. True. But it would make an even better cell network.
Femtocells have existed for some time and have been increasing in numbers. But past attempts have been disappointing have failed to harness their own potential. But what if, five or ten years down the line, Google decides to make each of their set top boxes into a femtocell? Or what if they already are?
What if we all woke up one morning in 10 years and Google had announcement: they have their own cell phone network. They pushed a software update to turn on the femtocells living inside of their boxes. Now after displacing cable companies, they have also tightened the screws on cell providers.
If Google Fiber lives up to its promise and later my proposition, lots of companies will be feeling the heat. And that heat would be an honest competitor.